Youth's light show is bright but donations are down in DoverBy JOHN QUINN
Union Leader Correspondent December 16. 2013 7:56PM
DOVER - Despite the fact cars full of holiday sightseers have stopped by 23 Overlook Drive to see a light show, donations seem to be down this year.
On the other hand, more people are seeking help from St. Joseph's Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, which benefits from the donations left at the light show put on by Luke Dobson, 15.
Luke's mother, Laura, said they've been impressed by the number of visitors - especially younger ones - who have returned to see 8,000 lights which are timed to holiday music - playing on his own "local radio station" at 106.9 FM which broadcasts in the neighborhood. But, she says only a handful remembered to bring cans and boxes of non-perishable food.
As many are making multiple trips to see the lights again, Laura hopes they can make a donation when they return in order for Luke to meet his goal of collecting 1,000 pounds for the pantry by the end of the month.
Dobson previously said he collected 930 pounds of donations in 2012, but it will be a challenge to collect donations since the show, which is in its fourth year, started a week later than last year - as Thanksgiving fell so late.
Aside from inclement weather, the performance is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A box will be placed at the end of the driveway to collect goods during the show.
In October, the pantry - located at 180 Locust St. - helped 561 people, including 191 households, but the amount has swelled to 623 people in 261 households, according to Sheila Cronin, pantry coordinator.
"Luke is doing a much needed service to feed the food insecure not only during the holidays but throughout the year," Cronin said. "Food is scarce in October, July and February."
Cronin said the pantry distributes three days of food - or nine meals - for each person who asks for assistance. She added the majority of requests come from older residents and families with children.
"The need is greater due to part time employees receiving less hours, elderly having a fixed income while food prices go up as well as the homeless in our area," Cronin said, she encourages area residents to come see the lights, which have become a special event in Dover and a great help to those in need.
"We are grateful to our many donors," Cronin said, adding the pantry is always in need of canned fruit, personal care items, toilet paper, soups and tuna fish.
For information, visit Dobson's website at www.lukeslights.tk or "Luke's Lights" on Facebook.